Rome, Italy: Basilica of Saint Praxedes: Chapel of Saint John Gualbert: St. John Receiving His Vocation as a Monk

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Sheppard, Beth M.
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19-May-17
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Image
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Italy , Rome , Basilica di Santa Prassede all Esquilino , Basilica of Saint Praxedes , Chapels , Mosaics , Saint John in Art , Forgiveness in Art
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The Basilica of Saint Praxedes (in Italian: Basilica di Santa Prassede, commonly known as Santa Prassede) is a Catholic basilica located in the Rione Esquilino (or district of Esquiline). Esquiline is the name of a Roman hill, one of seven on which the ancient city was built. The church was rebuilt by Pope Pasquale I in 822 CE and was restored multiple times since then. It was built principally as a resting place for the relics of Roman martyrs and was dedicated to the second-century Saint Praxedes, who was the daughter of a Roman senator. Along with her sister, Praxedes provided comfort and care to Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire. The sisters were murdered for burying early Christian martyrs, which defied Roman law. The church is known for being the most important example of early Christian Byzantine art in Rome because of the mosaics decorating its apse and side chapels. The photograph shows part of the last chapel on the left side of the main nave, which is dedicated to St. John Gualbert, founder of the Vallumbrosans. This project, commissioned by Pope Pius VI, began at the end of the 18th century but was not finished until many years later, and re-fitted by Ernesto Leschiutta in 1933. It is neo-Baroque in style, with an elliptical dome illuminated by eight windows in its drum, and an apse with its conch lit by two windows with transennae. The chapel's art is Art-Nouveau in style. The apse mosaic altarpiece depicts "St. John venerated by angels"; the apse conch mosaic above the altarpiece represents Vallumbrosan monks and nuns venerating "The Assumption of Our Lady" into heaven. The photograph shows the art to the left of the altar: "St. John receiving his vocation as a monk." John had been a typical young knight of Florence until his brother was murdered. John assembled a crew and hunted down the killer. When cornered, the killer stretched out his arms in the form of a cross and John forgave him. This artwork depicts that moment of forgiveness.
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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